'Karachi's land use is decided by large developers backed by politicians'.

KARACHI -- 'The development of Karachi was faster than the plans laid out for it by the British as low-income housing, schools, godowns, etc, developed informally and haphazardly as the need for them arose. The bureaucracy was also fine with this as they started doing the same,' said architect and town planner Arif Hasan.

He was speaking during his keynote address: 'A yet undefined city' at the inaugural and plenary session at the Winter School on 'Cities, Urban Change and Heritage Management through Geotechnologies and Digital Humanities', which looks at relations between heritage and territory.

The school, starting Monday, is being organised by the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in collaboration with Centre for South Asian Studies in Paris (CEIAS, CNRS-EHESS) at the IBA, City Campus. The CEIAS and CNRS-EHESS stand for Le Centre d'Etudes de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud (CEIAS), of the l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris.

'Karachi's land use, in spite of plans to the contrary, is being decided increasingly by large developers backed by politicians and not on the basis of environmental and social considerations. The coastal areas are also being reclaimed for similar purposes or for low-income housing,' said Arif Hasan.

First Social Sciences Winter School launched at IBA Karachi

He said that there were a few things shaping the future of Karachi in demographic and physical terms that needed further exploring. 'One, Karachi is a non Sindhi-speaking capital of a predominantly Sindhi-speaking province. Many of its governance-related issues arise from this reality. This also gives rise to the constantly discussed question about who owns Karachi?

'Karachi is a city of migrants. But over the last four decades, the nature of migration here has changed. Earlier, it was mostly elders coming to the cities, mostly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and then getting the younger siblings or children to follow. But today you see groups of young people from the rest of Sindh and the Seraiki belt, coming to Karachi while leaving their elders behind. Along with issues related to security, this has turned an already religiously divided society into ethnically segregated ghettos, which has resulted in the real estate and rental market's changing its manner of operation and redefining social and gender relations,' he said.

'In the past, traders of different origins, relations...

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